Last Friday, as soon as I got to work I realized that I had forgotten my phone at home. My reaction was completely reasonable under the circumstances.
I flat-out panicked.
I might add that “under the circumstances” doesn’t refer to any particularly compelling need for a phone that day. There was no impending crisis, and I wasn’t expecting any important calls or texts. But nowadays, I always bring my phone with me, wherever I go. And whenever I go. Some of my most spirited games of Angry Birds have taken place behind the privacy wall of a bathroom stall. OK, that’s a slight exaggeration.
I usually stick to Words With Friends.
Seriously though, my phone is always with me. It’s on the dining room table when I’m eating, on the nightstand when I’m sleeping, and on the couch beside me when I’m watching TV. And right there on the filing cabinet next to my desk at work. Is this an obsession? I guess so, but I’m far from alone. In this day and age, everybody takes their phone everywhere. Hell, you don’t even have to refer to it as a “cell” phone anymore. Does anybody still have a landline? I gave mine up 7 or 8 years ago, and have never once missed it. I remember when I first moved into my townhouse in the fall of 2006, I briefly toyed with the idea of adding a landline in case the kids were home alone and needed to reach me, but that became a moot point when their mom got them mobile phones of their own. So now I’ve got these white plastic plates with oddly-shaped holes in the wall that serve no purpose other than to let cold drafts of air into the house. The kids probably don’t even know what they are.
Then again, I’m all about the retro decor, so you’d think I’d be into ancient rotary-dial phones with big, looping cords. Maybe I can buy one for looks. I did, over the weekend, buy a vintage Zenith stereo console/cabinet complete with eight-track and turntable off of Craigslist. I’ve wanted one of these for a long time, and a woman in Kelso was selling one for $50 – an excellent price. So Tara and I drove up there (Kelso is a good 45 minutes north of here) to check it out. The piece was beautiful, and in excellent shape. Only we discovered the record player didn’t work. The seller offered to knock off $10 if we were still interested, and so I rolled the dice and bought the thing, hoping it would be a quick and easy fix. Keep in mind that I have no mechanical aptitude whatsoever – I’m the guy who was once assembling a Weber charcoal grill and put the wheels on upside down. Yeah, the ex never let me live that one down. So we got the thing home, and I spent the better part of the afternoon tinkering with it. At first the turntable wouldn’t spin at all. We inspected the wires and they were all in good shape, so I turned to my trusty research assistant, Dr. Google, for help. I ended up removing the platter and cleaning the idler wheel and pulley with isopropyl alcohol, and actually got it to work!* I couldn’t help but feel all smart and shit. I had never even “heard” of an idler wheel before, or seen the inner workings of a turntable. Suddenly I felt like an expert.
*Working, yes – only the speed is way off. You play a record on 33 1/3 RPM and it’s slowed way down. If you put on a Chipmunks record, they’d sound like Barry White. But, hey – it spins! I’m pretty confident there’s nothing too terribly wrong with the unit. I suspect, based on my internet findings, that some of the oils have caked up inside the unit. A little disassembly and lubrication should do the trick, but I’m going to let the pros handle this one. I’ve got a lead on a stereo repair shop in Portland that specializes in vintage equipment. True, the cabinet is going to end up costing me more than I’d hoped, but like I said, it’s really nice and worth the extra investment.
- Why Your Mobile Phone Doesn’t Have a Dial Tone (gizmodo.co.uk)